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Private banks have once again tried to dictate strategy for us while watching their earnings rise

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An ATM at an AIB branch on Dame Street, Dublin. Photo: Conor Ó Mearáin/Collins Photos

An ATM at an AIB branch on Dame Street, Dublin. Photo: Conor Ó Mearáin/Collins Photos

An ATM at an AIB branch on Dame Street, Dublin. Photo: Conor Ó Mearáin/Collins Photos

How galling that AIB, one of the banks that Irish taxpayers bailed out, had the temerity and audacity to propose removing vital ATMs from branches in different parts of the country, especially in rural areas. Thankfully, the plan to remove them has been reversed.

AIB was bailed out to the tune of €20.8bn of taxpayers’ money after the 2008 financial crash, while the taxpayers themselves saw their earnings depreciate in some cases by 21pc due to government-imposed levies. That we had to pump in €64bn to keep six banks afloat and institute cost-cutting measures that make Kim Jong-un look like an economic strategist, while holding few accountable, is grating, to say the least.

These same banks that failed to advise mortgage-holders of their entitlement to switch mortgages from variable to trackers, causing untold hardship and many homes being repossessed based on flawed and unscrupulous banking practices.

How many of these bankers lost their fat pensions and other remunerations? How many were allowed to slip off to their fancy villas abroad while the rest of us were left holding the proverbial empty pot?

Isn’t it time that we, the taxpayers, were properly remunerated for all the sacrifices we made over many decades due to the incompetence of banks, builders, insurance companies and government officials, instead of the constant imposition of taxes and levies?

Once again, the private banking sector has tried to dictate strategy while they see their earnings increase and continue treating the consumer/taxpayer with something akin to disdain.

Christy Galligan, Letterkenny, Co Donegal

We survived without interfering politicians

Oh, for those happy days when all we had to worry us was the “no smoking” in pubs and fears that the steak and kidney pie might have horse in it. Back then, we knew where we stood.

Now we have to struggle through a far-away war near Russia. Throw into the mix the scourges of Covid and monkeypox, and we’re guaranteed to never again draw a breath without feeling it’s only a short time before we’re all doomed.

Or do we sally forth without a care in the world? After all, as children, many of us played outdoors in all weathers, in the face of rampant TB and polio. Everyone muddled through, in hope and resilience, even before there was relief on the horizon.

Why does it appear to now be the case that we’ll only survive by putting ourselves in the hands of supercilious politicians? Buzz off, politicians at home and in the EU, and lose that string that now attaches to every aspect of what we used to feel was our individual and national freedoms.

Robert Sullivan, Bantry, Co Cork

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MacGill is addressing critical topic of our time

The 42nd MacGill Summer School in association with the University of Notre Dame is taking place in our lovely town of Glenties. This year’s topic, “The Destruction of Ukraine & Its People: The Fallout for Mankind”, is one that’s so necessary, and I congratulate Joe Mulholland and the committee.

Putin’s war is evil. I quote Ernest Hemingway: “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”

Brian Mc Devitt, Glenties, Co Donegal

Cashless banks would have hit most vulnerable

AIB’s decision to remove cash facilities from 70 of its branches would have been a kick in the teeth to the taxpayers who bailed out the banks.

It certainly would have taken a certain type of bravery to deny cash services to vulnerable loyal customers.

Aidan Roddy, Cabinteely, Dublin 18

Time to think holistically on food, water security

Climate change is very visible for those who continue to deny its existence. What we are currently witnessing is the full depth, powerfulness and magnitude of nature, its trauma, chaos and unfolding catastrophe.

Massive heatwaves, droughts, pandemics and water scarcity will continue to be the norm rather than the exception.

Time to think holistically about food, health and water security.

Dr Munjed Farid al Qutob, London

Outrage at cash ruling from FF is a bit rich

Reading Hugh O’Connell and Charlie Weston’s piece on AIB’s plan to go cashless, I read a quote from John McGuinness, saying he was outraged by the impact on the citizens of this country. I was outraged when his party destroyed this country and we had to bail out the banks

Tom Mitchell, Loughrea, Co Galway

Western nations failing to uphold obligations

International organisations like the UN, EU and Red Cross are mandated with promoting and defending essential values such as democracy, freedom, human rights, equality, international peace and justice.

A recently published book by Irish journalist Sally Hayden, My Fourth Time, We Drowned, exposes the failure of these organisations to uphold such vital ideals and obligations.

Questionable western economic interests are being pursued at the expense of gross human rights violations and abuses of international laws and humanitarian obligations. Tens of thousands of refugees and economic migrants have died while attempting to flee conflicts and dire poverty in the Middle East and Africa. Several of these conflicts have been precipitated by US/Nato wars of aggression and the overthrow of governments.

Initially, Ireland and other EU states provided their naval services to rescue thousands of migrants from the Mediterranean. This humanitarian rescue response was abandoned and replaced by more aggressive EU push-back policies backed up by EU border control mechanisms and financial deals with the Turkish government.

What has been happening in Libya, the Mediterranean and in the wider Middle East and North Africa is comparable with what happened in Cambodia and Rwanda, as exposed by brave journalists like Fergal Keane.

Western nations and international organisations said: “Never again.” Once again, they never really meant it.

Edward Horgan, Castletroy, Limerick

Health is too important to be subject to ideology

I was appalled to read Tommy Roddy’s letter (‘Depression can be tackled without the use of medication’, Irish Independent, July 21), as I am sure many professional medical people will have been. And I have to say Mr Roddy’s final sentence terrifies me: “The theory of depression being a chemical imbalance is bunkum as far as I am concerned.”

Some people can be treated using psychotherapy and holistic living. In fact, in America a large number of treatment centres use psychotherapy, spiritualism and medication to give people a ‘normal’ life.

I was not as unfortunate as Mr Roddy to suffer depression, but I did have anxiety, which got worse as I got older. I tried many things to improve my mind, but had to see a psychiatrist when I was 52. A good man, he took me back to my childhood, to the time when, aged three-and-a-half, I lost an eye in an accident. He explained this was a trauma to the mind, and as I aged my thoughts began to slow, leading to forgetfulness and misunderstandings.

We agree all humans are different – they are individuals. What suits one may not suit another. In my case, medication was absolutely necessary and continues to be. The young age when Mr Roddy was diagnosed, and my age when I was diagnosed, more than likely plays a part in the necessity for me to be medicated. There have been magnificent strides in psychiatric treatment in the past 50 years.

The health of everyone’s body and mind is priceless – please don’t permit anyone’s ideology to treat a serious, but treatable, illness.

Declan Foley, Melbourne, Australia


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